Northwestern State University Magazine
Dr. Randall}. Webb.
Dr. C.bns iV/u^'/o,
President of l-'.xternal
Affairs lor University
When I think back to the first time I visited the Northwestern
State campus as a child, I remember marveling at the beauty of
the campus. The rolling hills, stately buildings and rows of trees
made a big impression on me. Today, the attractiveness of our
campus makes prospective students want to be part of this special
As president I have worked to improve campus facilities while
whenever possible preserving historic buildings that mean so
much to Northwestern State students and alumni.
In a few weeks, we hope to finish the rehabilitation of Caspari
Hall as part of an overall project to consolidate offices which serve
students. Caspari Hall is being converted from a residence hall into
a facility which will house offices for Northwestern State's presi-
dent, the provost and vice president for academic and student af-
fairs and other administrators. The project was paid for with state
capital outlay funds.
There are other important projects taking place on the Natchi-
toches and Shreveport campuses that will enhance our facilities
and save money at a time of tight budgets.
The College of Nursing and Allied Health Education Center in
Shreveport is getting a 1 00-car parking lot which will be a great
convenience for students. The university is also installing new
carpeting in the building.
One project on the Natchitoches campus that you can't see
is the installation of new steam lines. This project will make our
buildings more comfortable and will produce significant savings.
Through private donations, we have been able to upgrade some
of our athletic facilities. The Lady Demon Softball Diamond will get
a new grandstand as Northwestern State hosts the 201 3 South-
land Conference Softball Tournament. Brown-Stroud Field was
enhanced with a new infield. Under a warranty with the manu-
facturer, the university will soon resurface the track at the Walter
Ledet Track Complex.
Each of these improvements is making your alma mater a better
place for our students to receive the best possible education.
As I write this, our staff is busy travelling around the region
participating in recruiting receptions and alumni gatherings.
Please check the back page of this magazine or click on the Events
link at northwesternalumni.com to find dates and locations for
Alumni After Hours, where you an visit with friends and representa-
tives from Alumni Affairs, Athletics and other areas of the universi-
ty. These occasions will help you stay connected to NSU and learn
about some of the great things happening on campus.
As many of you know, former alumni director Brad Laird was
lured by his love of coaching back to that career field and we wish
him great success. Realignments at Northwestern State opened
the door for me to return to work in Alumni Affairs and the NSU
Foundation to oversee fund raising and alumni relations. Because
external scholarship funding and recruiting have become so im-
portant to our success as a university, I will also continue to oversee
University Recruiting as part of my new assignment as Assistant
Vice President of External Affairs for University Advancement.
I am very excited about the opportunity to reconnect with
NSU alumni and friends as well as continue to share with prospec-
tive students and their parents what a special place Northwestern
State is. Thank you for your encouragement to me personally and
for your continued support of Northwestern State University.
Official Publication of
Norlhweslcrn Slate University
Organized in 1884
A member of CASE
Volume XXIII Number 1 Spring 201.1
ITie Alumni Columns (USPS 01 .S480) is published
by Northwestern State University.
Natchitoches. Louisiana. 71 497-0002
Periodicals Postage Paid at Natchitoches, La.,
and at additional mailing offices.
POSTMASl KR: Send address changes to the
Alumni Columns. Northwestern Stale University,
Natchitoches, La. 71497-0002.
Alumni Office Phone; 318-357-4414 and 888-799-6486
FAX: 318-357-4225 • E-mail: email@example.com
NSU ALUMNI OFFICERS
President loseph B. Stamey. NalchiKKhes, 1983
I St Vice President Tommy Chester. Natchitoches. I%9
2nd \'ice President Charles "Buddy " Wood. .Many, 1981
Secretary-Treasurer Malt Bailey. Shreveport, 2003
Assistant Vice President of External Affairs for University
Advancement Chris Maggio, Natchitoches, 1985, 1991
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
.Matt Bailey Shreveport, 2003
lorry Brungart Natchitoches, 1969. 1971
.Monty Chicola Alexandria, 1979, 1980
Leonard Endris Shreveport, 1974. 1975
Ken Guidry Natchitoches, 1972
Bobby Hebert New Orleans, 1983
Irey Hill Carencro, 1985
Adrian Howard Bedford, IX, 1989
Patricia Hrapmann New Orleans. 1973, 1978
(iail lones Natchez, 1981, 1998
.Matt Koury I.eesville, 1995
Angela l.asyone Natchitoches. 1986
Bryant Lewis Haynesville, 1958
Carroll long Longview, TX, 1970
William I.. I.uckie Lufkin, TX. 2008
David Morgan Austin, TX, 1973
Kip Patrick Washington, DC. 1995
c;iitV Poimboeuf. Shreveport. 1984
Dcnise Que/aire Baton Rouge. 2005
Joseph W Schelette Shreveport. 1969
Glenn Talbert Shreveport. 1964
Casey |o Ihompson Shreveport, 2001
Carlos Treadway Northville. .Ml. 1992
Marti \'ienne Natchitoches, 1982
Ricky Walmsley Rogers, AR. 1985
Mike Wilburn Shreveport, 1975
Dr Ieon.ird Williams New Orleans, 1993
Charles "Buddy" Wood Many, 1981
Derrick Houston Xlvian
Publisher Chris Maggio. 1985. 1991
Editor Leah Pilcher lactson, 1994, 201 1
(^intribulors D,ivid West
Doug Ireland. 1986
Photography Gary llardamon
Design/Layout Beth McPherson Mann, 1975
Norlhwcvlcrn State Ifnivcrsily is accrrdilnl by the Commisiion on
t Colleges ttf ihc Siiulhcrn AsMKiation of Colleges and Schools (IWi6
Southern l^nc. I>csatur. (»it»rgia .M)O.VV4(W7: Telephone numf>cr 404
h~*J-4S01) to award As.MKtatc. Bacvalaurralr. Master's, and Spcviallst
II IS ihc poluy of Northwestern State UnisTr^ily pi Louisiana not to
dissnmlnatc on the basis (tf race, color, religion, sex. national origin,
age, or disability in its educational pntgrams, activities or employmrnl
I Ins publii document was published at .i total cost ol
S|",().'^5. 42,500 copies of this public document wen-
I'ublished in this lirst printing at a cost of $17,055. Ihc
lotal cost of all printings of this document, including
icprints is $17,055. Ihis document was published b\
Northwestern State University Office ol I'niversilv
Vdvanienienl and printed by Moran Printing, Inc , 542S
I lorul.i Boulevanl. Baton Rouge. LA 70806 to foster and
promote the mutually beneficial relationship between
Niirllusestern Mate University and its alumni, supporters
.ind loninuinilv partners Ihis material was printed in
.uiotdaiKe with standards for printing by state agencies
established pursuant to R S 4.V.M Printing ol this material
was purchased in accordance with llic pruMsmns ol lillc
43 of the 1 ouisiana Revised Statin ^
Benefactor leaves $200,000 trust to archives
Egan family's impact on nortli Louisiana liistory well-documented in family collection
Northwestern State University's
Cammie G. Henry Research Center
received a trust of $200,000 from
a benefactor whose collection of
family documents has been man-
aged by the NSU Archives for more
than 40 years. The bequest from
the estate of the late Edward Myers
Egan is the largest single monetary
donation to benefit Northwestern
State's Eugene P.Watson Memorial
Edward Myers Egan, who passed
away in May 201 2, was a descen-
dant of Dr. Bartholomew Egan, a
figure of historic interest in Louisi-
ana. The Egan Collection includes
letters and documents from Dr.
Bartholomew Egan and other mem-
bers of the Egan family that provide
valuable information to research-
ers interested in the history of the
Baptist denomination in Louisiana,
Confederate medical history and
daily life in 1 9th century rural north
According to NSU Archivist Mary Linn Wernet, the Egan
Collection documents Dr. Bartholomew Egan's life from the
time before he immigrated from Dublin, Ireland, to Vir-
ginia, where he received medical training, was a prominent
educator and converted to the Baptist faith. After mov-
ing to Mount Lebanon, La., in 1 847, he was instrumental
in founding the Louisiana Baptist Convention and Mount
Lebanon University, the first university in north Louisiana. Dr.
Bartholomew Egan served as surgeon general and head of
the state laboratory under the Confederate government of
"After Dr. Egan received a land grant to settle in Bienville
Parish, he established Mount Lebanon as a Baptist college
for men,"Wernet said. "We have letters from Ireland and as
he moved from there to Virginia and Louisiana. We have
official and family letters from Mount Lebanon days and into
the Civil War when he was surgeon general."
Dr. Bartholomew Egan's granddaughter. Miss Lavinia Egan,
who was born during the Civil War and died during World
War II, is credited with gathering and preserving many of the
letters and documents that make up the collection, Wernet
"Lavinia moved to Shreveport and was an advocate for
women's rights and a historian who maintained the collec-
Dr. Bartholomew Egan
"The papers have been re-
searched by historians not only
interested in Bartholomew's life
but also in Mount Lebanon as
the first school of its kind in the
area and because of the medical
research that took place there. It
was a place where they conducted
pharmaceutical research and
developed compounds to treat the
wounded during the Civil War, so
there are professors of pharmacy
interested in information on the
school's medical practices."
The Cammie G. Henry Research
Center is housed on the third floor
of NSU's Watson Library and con-
tains Louisiana books, rare books,
archival materials, NSU Archives,
microfilm, maps, newspapers and
oral history tapes. Most collections
focus on Louisiana history with
documents ranging in date from
the founding of Natchitoches in
1 71 4 to the present. The Egan Col-
lection has already been utilized in
three thesis documents by graduate students.
The Egan family established a relationship with the North-
western State Archives in the late 1960s when they became
aware that the university maintained archived documents
specifically related to Louisiana history. At that time, a por-
tion of the Egan papers was entrusted to former archivist
Katherine Bridges to be microfilmed. Edward Egan estab-
lished a monetary trust for the archives in the 1 970s and
through the years provided financial support to the Cammie
G. Henry Research Center by funding shelves and materials
needed to preserve documents.
"The Egan family did not have a particular connection to
Northwestern, but they felt it important that we are able
to preserve not just their collection, but all the collections,
letters, documents and maps for future scholars," said Abbie
Landry, director of Eugene P. Watson Memorial Library. "As
strong an archive as this is, this type of donation makes it
Wernet plans to use the trust as a "perpetual fund for the
archives as needed and as seed money for matching grants."
For more information on the Cammie G. Henry Research
Center, visit library.nsula.edu/cammie-henry-research-center.
continued on page 2
Ill Alumni News
Pineville High School Principal
Karl Carpenter was selected to
be inducted into the Louisiana Music
Educators' Association Hall of Fame.
The LMEA annually selects a single
inductee. Ceremonies were held last
fall as part of the LMEA All-State Choir
Concert in Baton Rouge.
Carpenter began his journey in nnu-
sic education playing tube in the Alex-
andria Senior High School band under
the direction of Jerry Payne, who later
became band director at Northwestern
State. Carpenter followed, marching
the NSU band until his graduation.
Carpenter earned a bachelor's
degree in music education in 1 979 and
a master's degree in music at North-
western in 1 987 before completing his
doctorate at the University of South-
ern Mississippi in 2001. He began his
career in 1979 as a band director, serv-
ing at Oberlin High School, Winnfield
Senior High and Tioga High School
before becoming assistant principal at
Tioga. He later assumed leadership as
principal at Carter C. Raymond Middle
School and is currently principal at
Pineville High School, where he has
served since 2007.
Among the outstanding moments
in his career are leading the Tioga High
School band in playing "Hail To The
Chief" for President Bill Clinton in 1 996,
the band's appearance that same year
in the Washington, D.C. Independence
Day parade and concerts performed
on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial
and during a ceremony at the Tomb
of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington
Carpenter and his wife Terri have
been married over 30 years and have
three children, all who attended NSU.
In 2010, he was inducted into the
NSU College of education and Human
Development Hall of Distinguished
The Texas Foreign Language Asso-
ciation named Jennifer Jarnagin
(2007) Latin Teacher of the Year last
fall. Jarnagin teaches Latin to about
150 students at McKinney Boyd High
School in McKinney, Texas. She has
been teaching at Boyd since 2009.
Jarnagin, 29, became interested in
Latin as a high school student in Loui-
siana. A professor at Louisiana Schol-
ars' College at Northwestern State
encouraged her to pursue classical
studies, and she earned her master's in
ancient Greek from Indiana University.
Michelle Craig (i 999) was
named one of the 201 2 Most Powerful
and Influential Women in Louisiana
continued on page 3
Egan continued from page 1
Northwestern State University administrators examine a few letters, photos and receipts from the Egan Collection housed
in the Cammie G. Henry Research Center. The Center recently received a $200,000 bequest from the estate of Edward Myers
Egan, a descendant of Dr. Bartholomew Egan, a physician and educator who served as surgeon general of Louisiana during
the Civil War. From left are Brad Laird, former director of University Advancement; Abbie Landry, director of NSU's Eugene P
Watson Memorial Library; NSU President Dr. Randall J. Webb, Provost and Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs Dr.
Lisa Abney and University Archivist Mary Linn Wernet.
Spotlights continued from page 2
and was recognized at the fourth an-
nual Louisiana Women's Conference
hosted by the National Diversity Coun-
cil. An awards program took place at
Dillard University in November.
This award was presented by the Na-
tional Diversity Council for leadership
excellence and for serving as a role
model for the promotion of diversity
in the workplace. The conference is
a statewide event focusing on pro-
fessional development, community,
networking, entrepreneurship and
women's health. The 2012 theme was
"Finding Health, Wealth and Balance
in 201 2," through health care, profes-
sional development and entrepreneur-
ship and work-life balance. Craig is a
partner in the New Orleans office of
Adams and Reese where she is a labor
and employment attorney.
Morehead State University's
Dr. Edna O. Schack, professor of
education, received the 201 2 Mathe-
matics Education Service and Achieve-
ment Award (M.E.S.A. Award). The
award was presented by the Kentucky
Council of Teachers of Mathemat-
ics (KCTM) during its fall conference.
Awardees are nominated by KCTM
members and are chosen by an awards
committee. This state-level award is
KCTM's highest honor. Award winners
are selected for outstanding work in
their area of expertise and service to
the mathematics community.
In 201 1, Dr. Schack was awarded a
$102,907 grantfrom the National Sci-
ence Foundation to research the peda-
gogical content knowledge prepara-
tion of preservice elementary teachers
in mathematics across Kentucky.
Dr. Schack graduated with an Ed.D.
degree from Illinois State University.
She received her B.A. and M.S. degrees
from Northwestern State University in
1968. She joined the Morehead State
faculty in 1987.
Ruth Fruge (201 2) joined the
staff at the University of Detroit Mercy
Athletics Department as ticket sales
and fan experience manager. Fruge
previously worked as the market-
ing and ticket operations assistant
at Northwestern State, where she as-
sisted in all facets of ticket operations
and fan interaction. She also worked
as a recruitment student assistant in
the Louisiana Scholars' College recruit-
U.S. Army Maj. Treg Ancelet
spent several months as an officer in
special events planning for the 57th
Presidential Inauguration that took
place Jan. 21 . Ancelet, a Houma native
who earned a degree in music educa-
tion at Northwestern State University
in 1 993, has served for three years
as commander of The Army Ground
"Anything that goes on outside of
the swearing-in ceremony or parade
falls under the category of special
events - inaugural balls, concerts or
prayer services," Ancelet explains. "My
job is to look over some troops and
make sure we get anything militarily
that is needed for these events."
Ancelet's duties included but were
not limited to scheduling color guards,
honorary bands at each ball and clear-
ances for performers at various venues.
I "Everything down to when electric-
ity is plugged in is scheduled and
accounted for," Ancelet said. "The
littlest hitch can affect the course of
the event. Everything is timed down
to the wire."
His next assignment is to the Army's
heralded "Pershing's Own," the premier
musical organization of the U.S. Army
Ancelet is a former drum major of
the Spirit of Northwestern Demon
Derek Nunn (1 999) of Muskogee,
Okla., was elected to the Hilldale Pub-
lic Schools' school board in February.
Nunn, 38, holds a bachelor's degree
from Northwestern State. He and
his wife Greeva have a daughter and
both work for the U.S. Department of
Taryn Vinet of River Ridge was
named the new managing director
of St. John Theatre in Reserve earlier
this year. Vinet has a bachelor of arts
degree in theatre from Northwestern
State University and is working to-
wards a master's in arts administration
from the University of New Orleans.
Vinet has worked as an actor and
a technician throughout the Greater
New Orleans area, has done some writ-
ing for the stage and is a member of
the Big Easy theatre awards nominat-
Vinet was hired with St. John in
August 201 2, after managing SJT's co-
production of "The Living Christmas
Tree" in December and a handful of
other engagements at the theatre.
Nominations open for Hall of Distinguished Educators
Northwestern State University's Gallaspy (Family) College of
Education and Human Development Alumni Advisory Board
is seeking nominations for the Hall of Distinguished Educators
for 201 3. Nominees must have graduated from NSU's College
of Education at least 30 years prior to nomination. Inductees
are annually recognized during Homecoming festivities and
honored with a brunch and induction ceremony at theTeacher
The deadline to submit nominations is July 1 2.
Anyone who would like to nominate an outstanding College
Scan this to see
the members of the
Hall of Distin-
of Education alumnus
who has had a distin-
guished career in educa-
tion should send the
nominee's resume and other documentation outlining the reason
for the nomination to Gallaspy (Family) College of Education and
Human Development, c/o Janet Broadway, Northwestern State
University, Natchitoches, LA 71497.
Additional information is available by calling Broadway at (318)
357-6278 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
In overcoming adversity, Smith book
creates awareness of IPF
Jerry Smith (1961) released his third book earlier this
year, "Tragedy, Abandonment and Murder - Led to Hap-
piness." He also reports that he taped three television
shows for the ION Media Television Network and that a
writer from California is writing a screenplay based on his
life as documented in his best-selling book, "Does God
Give Us More Than We Can Bear?" Smith is hoping to cre-
ate awareness of pulmonary fibrosis, a fatal lung disease,
and create a Pulmonary Fibrosis Society similar to the
American Cancer Society, to advocate research to find a
"Every morning I wake up and say, 'It's great to be alive.'
After a life of tragedy, abandonment, rejections, the
murder of my wife and death of my grandson, I found
happiness only to be diagnosed in 2004 at the age of 64,
with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis," Smith wrote.
According to the National Institutes of Health,
idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a condition in
which over a period of time the lung tissue becomes
thickened, stiff and scarred. As the lung tissue becomes
scarred and thicker, the lungs lose their ability to transfer
oxygen into the bloodstream. As a result, the brain and
other organs don't receive the oxygen they need.
"I found a doctor in Germany with a laboratory who
analyzed my blood and found a fungus that caused
my P.F. and made a serum that destroyed the fungus in
2008," he said. "My Dallas doctor told me that my disease
was now in remission. Today my lung capacity is at 52
percent. Every day of my life is a struggle to breathe
when I over exert and when the weather, temperature
and the pollution count changes. I need medicine daily
to clear the mucus that builds up from the scar tissue
in my lungs, which causes chronic coughing. Often the
coughing causes severe breathlessness, which causes
severe pain, until I can stop the coughing and restore
normal breathing. But I wouldn't change my life today
because of the happiness that I experience helping oth-
The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation of America claims
that there is no known cause, medicine, treatment or
cure for the condition and that the expected life span is
two to three years from the date of diagnosis.
"It's been nine years since my diagnosis and no one
can explain why I am alive and doing fairly well," Smith
said. "Statistics show there are currently 200,000 pulmo-
nary fibrosis patients in the United States with approxi-
mately 45,000 new patients yearly and about 50,000
patients dying yearly in this country. There are about the
same number of people dying from pulmonary fibrosis
annually as women dying from breast cancer. And while
everybody is aware of breast cancer, almost no one has
heard of pulmonary fibrosis and there isn't any funding
or practical research being done."
More information about Smith is available at
jerrysmith.org. He can be contacted via e-mail at
Northwestern State University President Dr. Ran-
dall J. Webb, left, awarded an Nth Degree to Jacque
Crew, center, and Robert Crew in recognition of their
years of service to NSU. Robert Crew has been ex-
ecutive assistant to the president for 16 years after
working in the Louisiana Department of Education.
Jacque Crew was a distinguished educator, who
volunteered countless hours to assist Northwest-
ern State and Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority. The Nth
Degree is one of the university's highest honors and
is bestowed for going the extra mile in meritorious
service to mankind. It is presented to those whose
professional responsibilities and various other roles
in making this a better world are carried out to the
Alunnni from Northwestern State University's
Beta Omicron Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi present-
ed the last of their 50-year fraternity and sorori-
ty certificates from the 1 956-1 964 alumni group
during a reunion luncheon of the founders. Bar-
bara Dean Cameron (1964) was awarded a 50-
year certificate as a Delta Zeta Sorority member
by her husband George Cameron, Pi Kappa Phi
alum (1964). Barbara was also selected as the
Rose of Beta Omicron Chapter in 1962.
A play by Northwestern State University and Louisiana
Scholars' College alumnus Greg Romero has been pub-
lished by YouthPLAYS.
Romero's work, "Of Plastic Things and Butterfly Wings," is a
children's play about a plastic water bottle named Sam that
has lost her parents in the Gyres, a swirling ocean landfill
twice the size of Texas. With help from a blue crab with a gi-
ant claw, a parrot who thinks she is a seagull and The Oldest
Sea Turtle That Ever Lived, Sam embarks on a family-friendly,
music-filled, epic journey to save us all from the lonely, swirl-
ing vortex of thrown-away things and lost hope.
Romero was commissioned to write the play, which is
aimed at children in grades K - 5 and addressed the environ-
ment and issues of sustainability.
"It is a huge reward to have a play published," said Romero,
a 1999 graduate of the Louisiana Scholars' College who was
also active in the NSU Theatre. "It shows a publisher believes
in you and is willing to invest time, energy and money in
you. It allows your work to reach more people and lets your
play be experienced on the page or in a production."
Currently based in Philadelphia, Romero's other plays
include "The Most Beautiful Lullaby You've Ever Heard" and
"The Milky Way Cabaret." His plays have been presented in
New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Dallas, Austin,
Washington, D.C., Louisville and New Orleans. Romero's site-
specific projects and participatory live-events include "Mate-
rial V. Memory,"a walking, guided tour through a dozen per-
ishable events staged throughout West Philadelphia, "The
Dream Listener," in which individuals met in the library of
Plays & Players Theater to tell him their dreams, and "Marco
Polo," staged in the bathrooms of Actors Theatre of Louisville
during The Humana Festival for New American Plays.
Romero has been a finalist for the Heideman Award, a
semi-finalist for the Princess Grace Award, a semi-finalist for
the Northpoint Voices Inside Playwriting Residency, nomi-
nated for the F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Theater
Artist and was selected as the first-ever resident writer of the
ArtsEdge Residency, created by The Kelly Writers House and
The University of Pennsylvania. He is one of three play-
wrights to inaugurate the Philadelphia Dramatists Center/
Plays & Players Playwriting Residency and is an alumnus of
the 201 2 WordBRIDGE Playwrights Laboratory.
Romero has been commissioned by The Cardboard Box
Collaborative and Little Fish Theater, and is a member of The
Dramatists Guild of America. His works have also been pub-
lished by The Penn Review, The Brighton Post, Heinemann
Press and Playscripts, Inc.
During baseball season, Romero works for the Philadel-
phia Phillies as a "Phanstormer." He juggles at the entrance
of Citizens Bank Park, sings"Happy Birthday" to fans in the
seats and sometimes shoots t-shirts or hot dogs to fans
along with the team mascot, the Phillie Phanatic.
Romero received an MFA in playwriting from The Univer-
sity of Texas-Austin where he held the James A. Michener
According to Romero, the Scholars' College helped him
gain a foundation for his career.
"Reading through the Great Books sequence had a
major impact on me," said Romero, who earned a Bach-
elor of Arts in Liberal Arts. "It helped me to expand my
mind and learn to think critically. I also benefitted from
the deep exchanges that took place with the faculty and
Romero credited the Scholars' College faculty with creat-
ing a good environment for learning.
"It was so powerful that the professors of the Scholars'
College who were incredible intellectuals took me and class-
mates who were 18, 1 9 or 20 years old seriously as thinkers,"
he said. "It was empowering that professors we admired
listened to us."
The experience Romero had with the theatre program was
also important to him.
"I feel really fortunate to have journeyed through these
programs at the same time - the NSU theatre department
and the Scholars' College - as each journey fed the other
through their unique, often complimentary, demands," said
Romero. "I will always treasure the work I did at NSU as a
performer, as the skills and experiences gained through that
has deeply informed my work now as a writer and gener-
ally enriched my own life. And it was there that seeds were
planted for my own growth into playwriting; namely, I began
writing my own audition monologues, and then began writ-
ing for others as well."
In his senior year, Romero took a playwriting class under
Scott Burrell, now the coordinator of theatre.
"I wrote my first play in that class inspired by a field-trip
our class took to the famous American Cemetery," said
Romero."! will always appreciate Scott's openness to and
encouragement of the specific questions I was asking at the
time, which echoed nicely with the joyfully rigorous spirit I
loved so much from the Scholars' College."
More information on Romero is available at
Anne Storms' list of achieve-
ments got longer last
December. The 87-year old
resident of DeRidder was
among those who received a degree
from Northwestern State University
during Fall Commencement.
Storms, who earned an Associate
of Arts in history, earned her degree
at Northwestern State's Leesville/Fort
"I can't believe this is happening,"
said Storms prior to graduation. "Tak-
ing classes has been a wonderful expe-
rience for me. I have gotten so much
pleasure out of learning and I have
found out how much I don't know."
Anne Stornns, left and
Dr. Kathleen Smith, right
Storms first started college in 1 944
at Texas State College for Women,
now Texas Women's University. A year
later, she left college and married Wil-
liam Gale Storms in 1 946. The Storms
started a family and she worked at
Southwestern Bell Telephone as a
switchboard operator. Her husband
finished his teaching degree at South-
west Texas State University, now Texas
State University-San Marcos.
In the 1950s she became an army
wife, living throughout the United
States as well as in Asia and Europe.
While caring for their two children.
Storms worked at various jobs includ-
ing a stint as an intelligence decoder
in Tokyo. She was also a volunteer
with the Girl Scouts and the American
After her husband retired from the
military. Storms worked as a book-
keeper and a licensed real estate bro-
ker, serving as president of the Toledo
Bend Board of Realtors. She was also
active in the Business and Professional
Women's Club of Louisiana, which
honored her as "Nike" Woman of the
Year in 1990 and State President in
After her husband passed away.
Storms decided to back to college.
"After I lost my husband, I felt lost,"
she said. "I kind of got isolated for
a while and going back to college
helped me get more active again."
Storms took advantage of a North-
western State program that allows
those 60 or over to take one 3-hour
course tuition free.
"I started taking history under Dr.
Kathleen Smith and it really started
an interest for me," said Storms. "She
is such a wonderful teacher, who pro-
vides so much information and has a
great concern for her students."
Storms said Smith mentored, guided
and encouraged her as she not only
honed research and writing skills to
create papers each semester, but also
tackled the challenges computer tech-
nology poses. Fellow students were
also a help to her.
"I couldn't believe how wonderful
the other students were," said Storms.
"I didn't know how they would react
to me, but they took to me right away
and I made some great friends."
Making An Impact
Hearts open and a family grows with children in need of a home
"I think Roland and I have always
had a heart to serve others, prob-
ably from a young age," said Dr.
Amanda Ridley LaComb.
"We are both people people. We
love people," added her husband
Roland LaComb. "We're both vul-
nerable and believe In honesty and
have at times been taken advantage
of, but that hasn't diminished our
desire to help others."
Over the years, Amanda, a doctor,
and Roland, a coach and teacher, have
opened their hearts and home to
many children in need and are parents
to a blended family of biological and
adopted children, while their careers
as a physician and an educator enable
them to nurture and mentor other
youth they encounter.
"It can be difficult. You catch people
looking at you," Roland said. "But we
look at them as our own. You don't see
color, you don't see race."
The LaComb family includes two
biological daughters, ages 16 and 13,
three sons adopted from China, ages
10, 8 and 3, and two African American
siblings, ages 6 and 7. Roland and
Amanda have also fostered many chil-
dren, both temporarily and long-term.
When Roland and Amanda met at
Northwestern, they already shared
an interest in special needs children.
Roland worked one summer at the
Louisiana Lions Camp, a summer camp
sponsored by the Lions Clubs of Loui-
siana for children with special needs,
diabetes and pulmonary disorders.
"People in my community thought
working at Lion's would be a great
opportunity for me," he said. "I always
wanted to work with and help kids and
I learned a lot."
Amanda was planning to work at the
Lion's Camp the following summer and
a mutual friend suggested they meet
to discuss his experience.
Roland, a native of Jennings, has two
siblings. Amanda was an only child
who grew up in Sherman, Texas. The
two married the day after Christmas
in 1992. Amanda had just graduated
from the Louisiana Scholars' College
with a concentration in scientific
The Lacomb Family: front row from left, Liam, Tanner, Hezekiah, Chuan and Jamarsha. On
the back row are Caitlin, Roland, Maia and Amanda.
inquiry and was about to start medical
school while Roland was finishing his
last semester at Northwestern State,
earning his degree in education in
1993. Amanda is a general practitioner
while Roland is a basketball coach and
special education teacher. They live in
Elton near Jennings.
"We had two girls and our younger
daughter was a tough delivery," he
said. "We always wanted to have a
large family but had never thought
of adoption. We started looking into
adoption agencies and ended up
looking abroad to China, Russia and
Guatemala, as well as looking at spe-
cial needs children."
"I was adopted as an infant," Amanda
explained. "There are a lot of initial
considerations: types of children avail-
able, ages, sex, special needs, etc. plus
travel to the country. Do both parents
have to travel? Are you assigned a
child? Do you pick? Are you matched
before or after the commitment is
made? Ultimately we decided China's
program best fit our needs."
Although girls are more commonly
adopted from China, there are millions
of boys in Chinese orphanages, most
with special needs due to a physical
ailment as well as older children who
were abandoned. The LaCombs began
paperwork and other requirements
for the process of adoption in 2005,
just before Hurricanes Katrina and Rita
"After Katrina, we took in a family
of 1 3 from St. Bernard Parish, so we
put our home study on a back burner,"
Amanda said. "Then Rita devastated
Lake Charles and our agency. Volun-
teers of America, was busy helping
others. The immigration office in New
Orleans was completely closed and
everything almost stopped on our
processing of immigration paperwork."
Steps in the process that normally took
a few weeks dragged on for months.
"The China side of paperwork takes
another six months, so we were able to
finally travel in January 2007 to meet
our son on his third birthday," Amanda
During the wait, the LaCombs had
become foster parents to a 1 -year-old,
caring for him for six months.
"We were devastated when he left.
However, just two months after that,
on our daughter's second birthday,
OCS placed with us a biological
brother and sister, who we have since
adopted," she said.
Through 2008 and 2009 the couple
continued to foster children, having
over 15 different placements both
continued on page 8
Lacomb family continued from page 7
short and long term.
"We have fostered as an emer-
gency overnight placement, fostered
a newborn addicted to methadone,
fostered kids who were identified as
being kidnapped from out of state and
fostered a young teenage mother with
her infant son so she could keep her
son because there are no group homes
for troubled teens with their own kids.
We fostered some kids whose parents
got themselves straight and got their
children returned and adopted two of
our children through our experiences,"
Amanda said. Not all their
experiences were positive. They
asked for the removal of one fos-
ter child because of his aggres-
sive behavior toward their other
Roland and Amanda began to
consider adopting an older child
from China and were convinced
they should adopt two children
at once, which was unusual at
the time. The couple found
a video of a boy with a rare
genetic disease and another
year-old boy who had a cleft lip
and palate and partial blindness.
The LaCombs wrote a letter de-
tailing their experiences as parents and
foster parents, interviewed through the
agency and were approved.
"Theday afterThanksgiving 2010, 1
got on a plane with Roland's aunt to go
and get our boys," Amanda said.
People often say to Amanda and Ro-
land "You must be saints," or "you must
be great parents."
"I don't think we are saints or great
parents," she said. "We love children
and see a need that we can help. We
are broken and flawed individuals try-
ing to make a difference in our world.
Adopting has fulfilled our desires to
parent and love others and show God's
love every day. You can send money to
organizations that help kids or orphans
or the elderly or whatever your 'cause'
is and there is nothing wrong with that.
For us, we needed to share our lives
every day and really stretch our hearts."
The LaCombs said there is always an
adjustment period for the whole family
when someone new arrives.
"There is usually a brief honeymoon,
then some lines are drawn and ulti-
mately they accept each other and we
grow as a family," Amanda said. "They
all fight like the brothers and sisters
that they are. People ask me all the
time if they are related and I say. They
In 201 1, Roland and Amanda
stopped fostering because it seemed
difficult for the newest adopted sib-
lings to cope with the transitions.
"We always talked with them about
why the children were staying with us.
Sometimes it made sense as a mom
who is a doctor and we could take care
of a baby who was sick, but we made
the decision when our social worker
"It goes back to the way I was raised. I
had a strong belief that I wanted to have a
family. Being poor, I always wanted to do it
the right way. It all starts fronn that. I had a
Jesuit priest who lived across the street from
me, who took me under his wing and taught
me that I had a choice. That lit a fire under
me. No one in my family had ever been to
college. You're either going to stay in that
rut or fight your way through."
visited for the two Chinese boys' one-
year follow up report to send to China,"
Amanda said. "We could not find our
6-year-old son. I searched the house
and found him sitting on his bed cry-
ing. He thought someone was going
to take him away, so we decided no
more social workers with tablets and
pencils to take notes."
"We've been through so much," said
Roland, whose less than perfect child-
hood motivates him to be the best
parent he can be.
"It goes back to the way I was raised.
I had a strong belief that I wanted to
have a family. Being poor, I always
wanted to do it the right way. It all
starts from that. I had a Jesuit priest
who lived across the street from me,
who took me under his wing and
taught me that I had a choice. That lit
a fire under me. No one in my family
had ever been to college. You're either
going to stay in that rut or fight your
Roland was initially interested in
psychiatry as a field of study, but real-
ized "that was not the impact I wanted
to make." He discovered what he loves we?"
is teaching, coaching and mentoring.
"I relate so well to those kids from
poor backgrounds and abusive situa-
tions. I love talking to them, getting
them going in a different direction,
getting out of poverty and being ac-
countable. I always knew that coach-
ing was right for me."
Amanda's career as a physician
grants her an avenue to offer comfort
to a different set of special needs indi-
viduals through her work with geriatric
"It is like a way of serving," Roland
said of Amanda's work. "She
works with older people who
are dying and there may not be
anyoneelse there to listen. She
cares for them so much."
The LaCombs sometimes have
to take their work, their fam-
ily obligations and challenges
day by day. That often involves
helping some of his children
process their previous fam-
ily experiences and cope with
"They say two of the most
strenuous careers are doctors
and teachers," Roland said.
"We're committed to our ca-
reers, to each other and to our family."
Roland said it is not unlikely that the
LaCombs will adopt more children in
"A person's childhood experience
is so important. I try to make sure I'm
doing my best to be the best possible
parent I can be. We take care of those
kids. That's the center of who we are.
It's not perfect. It's something we work
"Our hearts have been broken and
they have been torn inside out many
times over but what good is a 100
percent intact heart at the end if your
life?" Amanda asked. "If God gives us
good gifts to love and a desire to par-
ent, should we use those gifts? If your
heart has never hurt for someone else's
pain, I don't think you've really lived.
Adopting kids is easy. It's just about
loving a child who needs a home and
trying your best to be a parent. One of
my favorite quotes is Adopting a child
won't change the world, but you can
change the world for one child.' People
are always asking us if we would adopt
again. My question is why wouldn't
In a single day, the loss of two legends
Friday, Dec. 1 4 was a joyful day for
hundreds of new graduates at North-
western State University, but for many
alumni, it will be remembered more as
the day when the university lost two of
her most iconic figures, Coach Walter
Ledet and Norm Fletcher, whose im-
pacts far eclipsed their roots in athlet-
ics at Northwestern.
Ledet, Northwestern State's first All-
America football player who became
a legendary coaching figure and a
high-ranking university administrator
along with an influential leader in the
Natchitoches community, died sud-
denly that morning, a robust figure at
the age of 93.
Fletcher, renowned for his broad-
casting career before he was elected
three times as Natchitoches Parish
sheriff, died in the afternoon at the age
of 82 after battling illness for several
Both are enshrined in the Louisiana
Sports Halt of Fame, Ledet in 1 995
for his athletic and coaching accom-
plishments at NSU, while Fletcher's
broadcasting career earned him the
Distinguished Service Award in Sports
Journalism in 2010.
"If Natchitoches had a Mount
Rushmore, Walter Ledet would be on
it," said one local NSU graduate, "and
Norm Fletcher might well be."
They were friends and active
members of the Walter P. Ledet Coffee
Club, a group of retirees, including
many former NSU faculty, staff and
alumni, which gathers each weekday
morning at Merci Beacoup Restaurant.
For more than the past decade, they
sat next to each other in the Turpin
Stadium press box for Demon home
football games. Both donated their
bodies to medical science.
Ledet, an Abbeville native, was a
1938 Little All-America guard who
spurned a contract offer from the
NFL's Philadelphia Eagles to remain in
Natchitoches and at Northwestern as
an assistant coach to Harry Turpin. He
married his college sweetheart, Betty
Willis of Natchitoches. They celebrated
their 7r' wedding anniversary July 24
and he was nearing what would have
been his 94'^ birthday Jan. 4.
From 1 952-64, while also serving
as assistant football coach, he was a
highly successful head track and field
coach at Northwestern who won five
straight Gulf States Conference Cham-
pionships from 1953-57 and missed a
sixth in a row by half a point.
He helped shape the careers of
three other Louisiana Sports Hall of
Fame competitors at Northwestern,
CharlieTolar, Charlie Hennigan and Pro
Football Hall of Fame member Jackie
Smith, who came to Northwestern on
a track scholarship.
Ledet is in Northwestern's Long
Purple Line Alumni Hall of Distinction
and the Graduate N Club Hall of Fame
for his athletic exploits. The track and
field facility at NSU was named in his
honor, the Walter P. Ledet Track Com-
plex, in 1996.
Ledet became the university's
registrar in 1 966 and officially retired
in 1980. He was a constant figure at
university events and athletic competi-
tions both at home and on the road.
He was recently honorary referee of
the 201 1 Southland Conference Out-
door Track and Field Championships
hosted at the Ledet Complex, which
is also the site of the annual Louisiana
High School Athletic Association Cross
An active member of Holy Cross
Catholic Church who still helped tend
to the church's flower beds, Ledet was
the last living founding member of
the Kiwanis Club of Natchitoches. The
university's Catholic Student Organi-
zation recognized him in 2003 for his
contributions to the university and its
Fletcher, a Natchitoches native, was
elected as sheriff for the first time in
1 979, and for several years spoke at
the FBI Academy in Washington, D.C.
on topics including efficiency and ef-
fectiveness of law enforcement opera-
tions. Fletcher spoke at the National
Sheriff's Association Convention in
1 981 , and was keynote speaker at the
Louisiana Sheriff's Association Conven-
tion in 1 984 and the Louisiana Police
Jury Association Convention in 1986.
An Air Force veteran, Fletcher was
president of the Natchitoches Parish
Chamber of Commerce, state chair-
man of the Louisiana Cultural Resourc-
es Commission in the 1 960s, and was
the volunteer City/Parish Civil Defense
Director for 1 8 years before running
successfully for sheriff.
Fletcher was instrumental in the
John Wayne 1 958 movie "The Horse
Soldiers" being filmed in and around
continued on page 10
Music educator honored
for 20 years of dedication
TheTexas Music Educators Association recognized Anthony Robinson (1975) for more
than 20 years of service to the TMEA annual convention as a percussion clinician and
organizer for the Texas All-State Symphony Orchestra.
"Each year different clinicians and guest conductors
are brought in to rehearse Texas' finest student musicians
and present a concert of very difficult orchestral and band
literature at the conclusion of the convention," Robinson
said. "My work towards helping prepare the percussionists
to play their parts has resulted in me being asked repeat-
edly by TMEA officials to return and serve in this capacity. It
was quite an honor to receive the certificate of recognition
because I wasn't expecting it and I did not think anyone had
noticed how many years I served as percussion organizer/
Robinson is currently percussion instructor at East Texas
Baptist University and Wiley College of Marshall, Texas; per-
cussion coordinator for the Springhill ISD of Longview, Texas;
principal percussion and assistant conductor of the Marshall
Symphony and has spent 34 seasons with the Shreveport
Symphony Orchestra. He also performs with the Longview,
South Arkansas, Texarkana and occasionally the East Texas
and Rapides symphonies.
Robinson served 20 years as assistant band director/
percussion coordinator/junior high band director for the
Marshall IDS band program under the leadership of Dr. Jerry
Payne and succeeded Dr. Payne as director of bands upon
his retirement in 2002. He retired from that position in 2007.
Robinson's professional affiliations include Phi Beta Mu,
Alpha Chapter, TBA, TMEA, Performing Artist For Yamaha Inc.
and The Company of Fifers and Drummers.
Robinson's presentation coincided with the TMEA confer-
"This caught me by surprise because the Orchestra Divi-
sion timed the presentation to conflict with a sectional and
I was reluctant to leave the sectional," he said. "I am the only
organizer/clinician to have been assigned to work all 5A All/
State groups, which include Concert Band, Symphonic Band,
Philharmonic and Symphony Orchestras."
Robinson's percussion instructors at Northwestern State
were the late Dr. John Raush and Don Keipp with post un-
dergraduate studies with the late Edward Kozak of Shreve-
Legends continued from page 9
Natchitoches. He played the father of
the groom in the popular 1 989 motion
picture "Steel Magnolias,"also filmed in
and around Natchitoches.
Fletcher served in five decades as
the "Voice of the Hall of Fame," lend-
ing his baritone delivery as the narra-
tor for ceremonies and videotape. His
stirring style ushered each inductee
into the elite ranks of Hall of Fame
membership, but it is only a part of
his remarkable contribution to state
He was a prominent sportscaster in
north Louisiana beginning in the late
1 940s and continuing into the 1 990s,
and still was a contributor until enter-
ing the hospital in October. Fletcher
was "Voice of the Demons" calling
Northwestern State sports events
nearly continuously beginning at the
age of 18 in 1949 until running suc-
cessfully for sheriff, and he reassumed
the NSU broadcasting role for two
years in the early 1990s.
From 1949-79, he broadcast high
school sports, doing every Natchi-
toches High/Natchitoches Central
football and basketball game, except
for time spent in the U.S. Air Force.
He was Editor-in-Chief of the Armed
Forces Radio Service Far East Network
in the 1950s as chief news and sports
announcer. He broadcast major sports
events throughout the Far East, includ-
ing football, baseball and boxing.
For a quarter-century after he re-
turned home to Natchitoches, he did
either prep or college basketball game
broadcasts five nights a week from
mid-November until early March, and
returned back to the studio early the
following mornings to anchor the local
news and sports reports and a talk
show. Broadcasting sports including
football, basketball, baseball, boxing,
boat races and even two Gulf States
Conference track and field champion-
ship meets, his total of play-by-play
events was over 4,000 broadcasts. As
co-owner of KNOC-AM and KDBH-FM,
Fletcher helped launch the broadcast
careers of dozens of NSU students, in-
cluding LSU's Jim Hawthorne and Cox
Sports Television's Lyn Rollins.
Mathews takes Spirit of Northwestern director's baton
Jeffrey C. Mathews has been
named director of bands at
Northwestern State University ef-
fective July 1 . His appointment is
subject to approval by the Board
of Supervisors for the University
of Louisiana System.
Mathews will replace Bill Brent
who has been director of bands
since 1983, building the band
from one with 48 members to
one with approximately 300.
Brent will remain as director of
the Mrs. H.D. Dear Sr. and Alice
E. Dear School of Creative and
Performing Arts, focusing on
observation of student teachers,
student recruitment and fund-
Mathews has been at North-
western State since 1 998 as
associate director of bands/asso-
ciate professor of music, director
of student activities and organi-
zations and director of athletic
bands/assistant professor of music.
"Becoming director of bands at NSU represents the pin-
nacle of my 28-year relationship with the band program that
began when Mr. Brent recruited me to be a member of the
band out of Bossier High School in 1 985," said Mathews. "I
had the good fortune to be on hand to watch Mr. Brent build
the Spirit of Northwestern into what it is today. Mr. Brent
and I have worked closely to maintain the size and quality of
the SON together for the last 1 4 years and I look forward to
continuing that work moving forward. Fans of the SON can
rest assured that they will continue to see great half times
shows, great pep band support at basketball games and
professional level concerts."
The Spirit of Northwestern Marching Band was a finalist
for the 201 1 Sudler Trophy, an award to identify and recog-
nize collegiate marching bands of particular excellence that
have made outstanding contributions to the American way
of life. NSU's band participated in the 201 1 New Year's Day
Parade and Festival in London. Northwestern State's band
was named one of the top eight in the country by the Web
site collegeotr.com in 2008.
"After 30 years of serving as the director of bands at North-
western State, I feel it is time to hand the podium of this in-
credible organization to the next generation," said Brent. "Jeff
Mathews has been a loyal and dedicated colleague and
associate for nearly 1 4 years and I know that he will continue
the 1 00-i-year tradition of excellence with the band program
at Northwestern. He, along with Associate Director of
Bands Kenneth Green and Assistant Director of Bands Steve
McKeithen, will work closely with the music faculty and the
Jeffrey C. Mathews
administration to ensure that the
Spirit of Northwestern contin-
ues to be a focal of pride for the
University, our alumni and the
Brent said Northwestern's
administration has helped the
marching band gain national
"I want to sincerely thank Dr.
Randall Webb and his adminis-
tration for their support for the
past 1 7 years and Dr. Robert
Alost who was my boss prior
to Dr. Webb, for his support as
well," said Brent. "It has been a
wonderful time for me and I feel
that the program will continue to
thrive under the leadership of Dr.
As associate director of bands
and an associate professor of
music since 2008, Mathews con-
ducts the NSU Wind Ensemble
and Symphony Band and serves
as director of summer music classes. He is part of a recruiting
team that brings in 85 to 1 00 new band students annually.
Mathews held the Magale Endowed Professorship at North-
western State in 2008-09.
Mathews serves part-time as Chief of Air National Guard
Bands. He is the functional manager of the Air National
Guard band program nationwide and principal advisor to
the Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs Division and
National Guard Bureau Public Affairs on matters pertaining
to Air National Guard Bands.
From 2004 to 2008, Mathews was director of student
activities and organizations and lead a department in the
Division of Student Affairs. He coordinated facility use at
Northwestern State and managed day-to-day operations of
the Friedman Student Union. Mathews advised the Student
Government Association and oversaw the Recognized Stu-
dent Organization program.
Mathews was director of athletic bands/assistant profes-
sor of music from 1 998 to 2004, managing and directing all
aspects of the Spirit of Northwestern Marching Band.
Mathews earned a Bachelor of Music Education at North-
western State, a Master of Music Education at the University
of North Texas and a Doctor of Musical Arts in conducting
pedagogy at the University of Southern Mississippi.
An article by Mathews, "A Descriptive Analysis of Martin
Ellerby's 'Paris Sketches,'" was published in the Fall 2011 issue
of the Journal of Band Research. He presented a lecture, "Air
Force Bands in the 21 st Century: A New Mission in the Global
War on Terror," at The Martin Institute of Stonehill College,
Music and War Conference in 2008.
Les Amies Service Organization created a scholarship to benefit a female student at Northwestern State University who demonstrates
leadership and a commitment to service. From left are Les Amies members Dene McCauley, Haley Blount, NSU's associate director of
Alumni Affairs; Past President Claire Wardell, Les Amies 1 " Vice President Lindsay Maggio, President Jennifer Ingram, NSU Associate
Director of Development Jill Bankston, Lauryn Sharplin, Laurie Richard and Erin Dupree, NSU Development program coordinator.
Les Amies Scholarship supports leadership in young women
Les Amies Service Organization of Natchitoches created a
scholarship through the Northwestern State University Foun-
dation to benefit an upper-level female student who dem-
onstrates strong leadership and a commitment community
service. The Les Amies of Natchitoches Service and Leadership
Award will be granted to a resident of Natchitoches or sur-
"We're so excited to be able to assist a young woman in con-
tinuing her education, while encouraging all young women to
become leaders and set a good example through their service
to others," said Haley Blount, Les Amies fund raising member-at-
large and NSU's associate director of Alumni Affairs. "While our
members are already dedicated to the mission of serving the
Natchitoches community and all those in need, it's important
that we encourage others to adopt that same attitude of self-
lessness and service. Awarding a scholarship to a young female
who is already dedicated to serving others and bettering herself
through her education is one the best ways we could think of to
give back to our community."
Les Amies is a women's service organization established
in Natchitoches in 1 958 that encourages service, friendship,
hospitality and loyalty. Each member is encouraged to apply
the club slogan of "the best through togetherness" and put into
action the club motto of "We must learn to do simple things
perfectly before we can acquire the skills to do difficult things
More Campus News
NSU's online programs get favora
Northwestern State University's online
degree programs were included in the
201 3 edition of Top Online Education
Program rankings by U.S. News & World
Northwestern State's online bachelor's
programs were ranked 57th and the
online graduate program in education
was also ranked. This is the second year
for U.S. News ranking of online programs
and the first year for numeric rankings for
The university's online bachelor's pro-
grams were ranked 31 st in the country in
student engagement and assessment and
46th in student service and technology.
Northwestern State's graduate programs
were ranked 51st in student engagement
and accreditation and 75th in student
services and technology.
"Northwestern State has sought a
leadership role in the delivery of online
ble ranking in national study
education for the past decade. These
rankings show the university is com-
mitted to providing quality academic
programs using the latest technology in
course delivery," said Northwestern State
President Dr. Randall J. Webb.
The rankings in student services and
technology evaluate the way programs al-
low students to participate in online class-
es and how faculty assesses classwork.
NSU was the only Louisiana university
ranked for its online bachelor's programs.
Northwestern State was the only Loui-
siana university to receive rankings in
student engagement and assessment on
the bachelor's level and a graduate rank-
ing in student services and technology.
NSU was the highest ranked university in
the state for student service and technol-
ogy on the bachelor's level and graduate
student engagement and accreditation.
"Northwestern State strives to pro-
vide quality programs and services for
students," said Dr. Darlene Williams, vice
president for technology, research and
economic development. "It's wonderful
to receive this type of recognition that
can only be attributed to the exceptional
faculty and staff who work with our stu-
dents every day."
Online bachelor's degree programs
in education as well as graduate online
degree programs in business, education,
engineering, nursing and computer infor-
mation technology were ranked.
The rankings for degree programs are
based on criteria including student en-
gagement, faculty credentials and train-
ing and student services and technology.
Thirty-two degree programs at North-
western State are available online.
Information on electronic classes at
NSU is available at ensu.nsula.edu.
A scholarship has been established at the North-
western State University Foundation in memory of
Natchitoches Parish Sheriff's deputy and Northwestern
State alumnus Ricky Issac Jr., who died in
an on-duty automobile accident Dec. 8,
The Natchitoches Parish Sheriff's Of-
fice and the NSU Department of Crimi-
nal Justice, History and Social Sciences
established the scholarship. Donations
can be made by mail at the following
address: Office of University Advance-
ment, 535 University Parkway, Natchi-
toches, LA 71497. A notation should be
made that the donation is for the Ricky
Issac Jr. Scholarship.
The scholarship will be awarded to a criminal justice
major with a preference toward a Natchitoches Parish
Sheriff's Office deputy or family member.
Issac, who earned a bachelor's degree in criminal jus-
tice, was a member of the Northwestern State football
team and was the 201 1 Defensive Most Valuable Player
He lettered in football for four years.
Issac was active in the NSU Huddle of the Fellowship
of Christian Athletes. He went to work at the NPSO
soon after graduation in December 201 1 , and
Ricky Issac scholarship
honors fallen deputy
served as the NSU football team's police escort for the
201 2 squad's last two road trips to Central Arkansas
and Stephen F. Austin.
For more information, contact the NSU Foundation
at (318) 357-4414.
The Northwestern State University
Alumni Association is offering an
opportunity for travelers to experi-
ence exotic, historic and breathtak-
ing destinations while contributing
financial support to the Associa-
tion. Two luxury cruises have been
planned for 201 3 to Alaska and to
Europe with ports of call in Italy,
Greece and Croatia.
"These trips are a great opportu-
nity for our alumni to network with
other Northwestern State alumni
and Louisiana natives," said Haley
Blount, associate director of Alumni
Affairs. "These trips are offered to
our alumni and friends at discount-
ed rates because of the partner-
Cruises packages offer avenue for
giving to the Alumni Association
ship we share with other Louisiana
universities and the travel compa-
nies. It's also the perfect way to be
able to give back to the university,
because the NSU Alumni Association
gets a portion of the proceeds from
An Alaskan cruise, set for Aug.
5-1 2 aboard the Oceania Cruises'
Regatta will depart Seattle and sail
to the Alaskan ports of Wrangell,
Sitka, Ketchikan and through the
stunning, scenic Tracy Arm Fjord and
Inside Passage. Early bird specials
including two-for-one cruise fares
and free airfare are available. For
more information to book passage
call GoNext at (800) 842-9023.
The Italian Inspirations cruise
with ports of call in Italy, Greece and
Croatia, Oct. 1 7-25, will take travel-
ers to centuries' old towns aboard
Oceania Cruise's Riviera, Oct. 1 7-25.
Travellers will visit Capri, Amalfi and
Sicily, the Greek wonderlands of
Zakynthos and Corfu and the walled
city of Dubrovnik. Early bird spe-
cials, including two-for-one cruise
fares and free airfare are available.
Call GoNext at (800) 842-9023 for
Information is also available at
northwesternalumni.com or by call-
ing Blount at (318) 357-4414.
Ill Athletic News
Jay Thomas begins spring training as head football coach
24th annual Joe Delaney Bowl will be April 20
As Jay Thomas walked to the
podium in a packed Stroud Room to
be introduced as Northwestern State's
new head football coach, he quietly
shared a simple message with his new
Shaking hands with veteran NSU di-
rector of athletics Greg Burke, Thomas
softly but firmly said, "I'm going to
work hard and do this thing right,
Thomas has since built his staff,
signed over 20 new recruits to join
the program for the 201 3 season, and
begun spring practice, which will cul-
minate Saturday, April 20 with the 24'"
Annual Joe Delaney Bowl spring game.
After hearing glowing words from
Burke and university president Dr.
Randy Webb, and listening to Thomas
outlining his vision for the Demon
program, people in the audience kept
using words such as"sincerity,""inten-
sity,""classy,""passionate " and "winner "
as they shared their excitement after
the hour-long event.
"Coach Thomas is by far one of the
best human beings in the business,"
said 201 2 senior All-Southland Confer-
ence kicker John Shaughnessy, the
conference football Scholar-Athlete of
"If there was a way to get four more
years of eligibility," said fellow 2012
senior defensive end Wade Williams,
"I would come back to play for Coach
Thomas. He is that special a coach and
They know first hand. Thomas was
the Demons' defensive line coach in
2010 and 2011 before joining long-
time friend Daryl Daye as assistant
head coach at Missouri Southern last
season. They worked together when
Daye was head coach at Nicholls State
(1 993-2003) and as graduate assis-
tants under legendary LSU assistant
coach Pete Jenkins in 1 988-89 at LSU.
Thomas succeeded Daye as head
coach at Nicholls (2004-2009), guiding
the Colonels to their only Southland
Conference championship (2005) and
their highest national ranking (13'",
2007) along with a leap from 740 to a
solid 930 score on the NCAA's Academ-
ic Progress Rate.
After spending six years as the Colo
nels coach, Thomas said he learned
lessons that he's eager to apply in his
"You always want another opportu-
nity. I've got a vision, I've got a plan,
I've got this picture painted in my
mind. Now we can get to work making
it happen, from day one," he said.
He dispelled one popular miscon-
ception about his offensive philoso-
phy. His Nicholls teams employed the
triple option running game, ranking
among national rushing leaders annu-
ally and often confounding FBS and
ranked foes, beating Rice in the 2007
season opener, and coming within
the final minutes of upsetting the Big
Ten Conference's Indiana Hoosiers in
"I know everyone thinks I'm this
triple option guru. I'm a defensive guy,
by trade, but I do understand offense
and what gives defenses fits, and
that's where we want to go. We will be
creative and innovative. We want to be
aggressive. Naturally, we need to be
able to run the football, but also, we
want to be able to throw the ball," said
continued on page 15
This picture has been dubbed "The Demons' Mount Rushmore Photograph." From left are North-
western State's athletic coaching staff from the late 1 940s, football assistant James Shultz, football as-
sistant and head track coach Walter Ledet, head basketball coach H. Lee Prather, football assistant and
head baseball coach Alvin "Cracker" Brown and head football coach Harry Turpin. NSU's track complex
is named for Ledet, the basketball arena is named for Prather, the baseball stadium has Brown's name
and football's stadium honors Turpin.
This image was provided by Betty (Mrs. Walter) Ledet, who donated a large collection of black and
white photos of Northwestern State/Louisiana Normal sports photos from the 1 930s through the 1 960s
that Coach Ledet had saved, going back to their college years. The Sports Information Office deeply ap-
preciates her kindness and encourages any alumni who have "vintage" photographs from before 1 981
to submit them. In 1981, a fire destroyed the Sports Information Office and all of Bullard Hall.
Thomas continued from page 14
"We want to move the chains and
control the clock. We want to be in a
spread offense, and with the players
I believe we can attract here, we can
have a lot of fun. I got a text from one
of our players at Nicholls, who said,
'Coach, just throw the ball more up
"I'm so excited about what we can
do. The tradition of this Northwestern
football program is amazing. It has
happened here in a big way, and the
administrators and so many of the
people who are here were here when
we've had great success before. I've
seen what this community has to offer,
and we loved our two years here. We're
thrilled to be coming back home to
Louisiana, and especially to Natchi-
toches and Northwestern."
As several current Demons watched,
including All-Southland Conference
defensive tackle Lesley Deamer, Thom-
as gave insight into why those players
and others from his days at Nicholls
have such great admiration for him
and have performed so well for him.
"I respect them, from day one. It's
all in how you treat the guys. If you
respect them, you'll get respect back.
There is a fine line and we all have to
work at it together. I'm a father and I
treat these guys like my kids. They're
all my sons, and that creates a bond,"
At the outset of his remarks, Thomas
took time to acknowledge people
influential in his life, starting with his
father, a longtime prep coach at Baker
High School, and LSU's Jenkins, along
with Daye and the top administrators
"There's a long list of people I cer-
tainly need to thank. At the top of that
list is Greg Burke. We're very fortu-
nate to have a man of his caliber and
talents. I appreciate his patience as I
made this great decision, and I look
forward to working with him to build
our program," he said. "As we sat down,
we shared the same vision for the De-
mon football program, which was very
critical in our decision to leave a good
place and good friends to come back
home to Louisiana.
He also shared his pride in the sup-
port of his immediate predecessors in
the Demon head coaching office, Brad-
ley Dale Peveto (2009-1 2) and Scott
"The foundation of the program is
here. I'd like to thank Coach Peveto,
who has left a good foundation to
work from. He was one of the first to
call me last night and congratulate me.
Also, Coach Stoker called me last night.
They both care about this university
and poured their hearts and souls into
this program, so I'm not walking into
a rebuilding situation. Knowing I have
their friendship and support means a
Motto: Safety First.
On Nov. 4, 1 920, a meeting of
the boys of the shack was held to
organize a fire brigade. A week
later the brigade had its first drill.
The purpose of organization was
to safeguard the lives and protect
the property of the Louisiana State
Normal School. The brigade con-
sisted of a chief, a lieutenant, 16
privates and a mascot. Member-
ship in the brigade was considered
a distinction and its members
were subject to military discipline.
On Saturday mornings once a
month, the brigade drilled and
instructed for two hours. The
drills were designed to afford
the members special knowledge
and practice in handling the fire
apparatus and appliances and in
reaching the point of fire with the
least confusion and best results.
The drills were thorough and as
closely as possible approximated
actual fire conditions.
Members were W. Hansler,
chief; P.S. Chambers, captain; S.A.
Moncia, lieutenant, and V.L. Roy
Jr., mascot. Privates were Calvin
Bordelon, Charles E. Elkins, J.F.
Gauthier, Adolphe Laborde, C.E.
LaPrairie, W.A. Lawrence, G.W. Mc-
Ginty, C.E. Manning, A.B. Millican,
W.W. Norris, Hezzie Sylvest, F.W.
Smith, Alphonse Wallet, C.A. Wise,
J.A. Young and Wiltz Gremillion.
"1 1^ n in T
Three senior members of the NSU baseball team
were picked in the 2002 Major League Baseball
draft. Can you name them? The first five readers
to call the Alumni Center at (318) 357-4414 will
win a prize.
Answers to Winter 201 2 Guess Who were Univer-
sity President Joseph Orze and Student Govern-
ment Association President Tod Klotzbach.
Winners from the Winter 201 2 issue were:
James Martin, Jr. of Pearl, Mass. (1 985)
Susan Hall of Deville, La. (2001 )
1934 - Joeline Bakat Robinson, Dec. 5, 2012, Lake Charles
1934 - Marvin Tanner, Sept. 13, 2012, Evergreen
1939 - Walter P. Ledet, Dec. 14, 2012, Natchitoches
1943 - Mary Jean Swift Thomas, Jan. 30, 2013, Natchitoches
1945 - Colleen Woods Baker, Dec. 1 , 2012, Houston
1949 - John G. "Red" Robertson Jr., Feb. 6, 2013. Ferriday
1949 - Bernard Waggoner, Feb. 5, 2013, Logansport
1950 - Grady F. Howell, Oct. 19, 2012, Denver, Colo.
1950 - Retta Stnckland Poole, Jan. 8, 2013, Shreveport
1951 - Patricia Christine Prince, Jan. 31, 2013, Coushatta
1954 - Dorothy Carnahan Benefield, Jan, 12, 2013, Natchitoches
1956 - Howard Dean Clark Jr., Jan. 3, 2013, Shreveport
1957 - Orville Wayne Rigdon, Jan. 28, 2012, Houston, Texas
1960 - William "Bill" Proctor G'Bannon Jr, Sept. 13, 2012, Natchitoches
1960 - John Milton Nix, March 25, 2012. Bossier City
1960 - Margaret Reynolds Steward, Dec. 28, 2012, Baton Rouge
1965, 1 972 -Yvonne Stephens Tuminello, Jan. 14, 2013, Alexandria
1972 - James "Jim" Pierson, Dec. 8, 2012, Natchitoches
1975 - Gary Earl Hall, Apnl 12, 2012, Longview, Texas
1986 - Richard Turner Johnson Jr., Nov. 27, 2012, Natchitoches
2010 -Jonathan Douglas Hammons, Jan. 29, 3013, Shreveport
2011 - Ricky Isaac Jr., Dec. 8, 2012, Natchitoches
Billy Mack Gearing, Oct. 17, 2012, Mooringsport
Norm Fletcher, Dec. 14, 2012, Natchitoches
Northwestern State University
Natchitoches, LA 71497-0002
NSU Alumni After Hours Tour
March 14 (Thursday)
March 21 (Thursday)
March 22 (Friday)
April 6 (Saturday)
April 13 (Saturday)
April 18 (Thursday)
April 19 (Friday
May 2 (Thursday)
June 1 (Saturday)
Lafayette @ Blue Dog Cafe (6 p.m.)
New Orleans @ ACME Oyster House (6 p.m.)
Baton Rouge @ Ralph & Kacoo's (6 p.m.)
Houston @ Ragin Cajun Restaurant (12 noon)
Natchitoches (a Natchitoches Jazz/R&B Festival
NSU Alumni Association tent (6 p.m.)
Shreveport @ Savoie's (6 p.m.)
Dallas Area @ Ridgecrest Country Club, Piano, TX
Golf outing (2 p.m.) & Crawfish Boil (6 p.m.)
Alexandria @ Tunk's Oyster Bar (6 p.m.)
Featuring Dr. Harry Briggs 2-mile "Swim for CENLA"
Washington D.C. Crawfish Boil @ Fort Hunt Park (12 noon
Louisiana College Coalition (LCC) 10"' anniversary event
Registration & detailed inforn^ation available at northwesternalumni.com